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JNU is not a terrorist spot, says chancellor VK Saraswat

Member of Niti Aayog believes JNU students as good as others; says focus shifts from left to right and back in a mixed economy

punjab Updated: Aug 20, 2017 16:33 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
JNU,terrorist spot,VK Saraswat
VK Saraswat. (HT Photo)

The chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), VK Saraswat, talked about the rich history of the leading university and how it provided an inclusive environment for students. “There is no terrorism in JNU. The students of JNU are as good as others,” he said. Saraswat was at Panjab University to attend a roundtable on ‘Developing country specific models for the promotion of R&D via PPP mode’ on Saturday.

“There is a history behind what JNU is now. Right from the early days, it has provided inclusive education to students. It is not a terrorist spot,” he added.

We have a centrist government. The environment in JNU is leftist. The polarisation outside JNU has its impact. The university is not witnessing protests for the first time.

He also talked about the recent controversies due to protests by students in JNU who have raised their voice in favour of ‘aazadi’ in Kashmir and against University Grants Commission (UGC) after seat cut in MPhil and PhD courses. A member of the central government think tank, Niti Aayog, for the past three years, Saraswat is a scientist who has served as the director general of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the chief scientific adviser to the defence minister. He is a strong advocate of ‘Make in India’.

According to him, we live in a socialist country where many follow the leftist philosophy. “We have a mixed economy system. The focus shifts sometimes to the left and then to the right,” he said.

With nationalist thought being propagated daily, some student leaders have pointed out that there is an effort by the right wing to destroy the inclusive environment in the university. “We have a centrist government. The environment in JNU is leftist. The polarisation outside JNU has its impact. The university is not witnessing protests for the first time,” he said.

He added, “What is demanded from the students is discipline. Free speech does not mean indiscipline.” A centre for defence studies is being planned at JNU. Many see such initiatives as a symbol of nationalism being propagated by the government. “It is not a symbol of nationalism. There is nothing wrong in taking such initiatives. It depends on what you want to promote. I don’t feel that there is a problem in inculcating nationalism. We are a part of the nation,” said Saraswat.

He added, “JNU is the largest institution that provides degrees to the armed forces. Artefacts and departments related to the needs of students are always required. We are working on that in all the institutions,” he added.

First Published: Aug 20, 2017 16:33 IST